Study: 'Massive' nursing shortage narrowing but still bodes ill (bizjournals.com via

  1. A new study shows the projected nursing shortage has shrunk by 420,000 registered nurses.

    The biggest contributor to the change -- now a predicted 340,000 shortage compared with the previously projected 760,000 -- is that more people are entering the profession in their late 20s and early 30s, says Vanderbilt University Medical Center professor Peter Buerhaus, one of the researchers who produced the study.

    Buerhaus says 80 percent of the improvement can be attributed to growth from those who chose nursing after starting a career in another field.

    Although the research points to a large reduction that shows the country is on the right track, Buerhaus says, if the projected shortage is not further reduced, the nation's health-care system could be overwhelmed.


    "I would liken it to a category five hurricane that's weakened to a category four," says Buerhaus. "Even if it hits, a four's going to kill you as much a five. It's still a massive, big shortage."

    More... Study: 'Massive' nursing shortage narrowing but still bodes ill
    Last edit by brian on Jan 9, '07
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   wooh
    And it's great people are entering it as a second career, but...
    People from other lines of work I believe will be less inclined to put up with what nurses that know nothing else are accustomed to. I wonder how long they'll stay in nursing, considering they have other careers to fall back on?
    I don't think the big question is how to get people into nursing, I think it's how do we get them to stay in nursing? And that's going to take massive changes that hospitals aren't going to want to pay for.
  4. by   MBARNBSN
    Quote from wooh
    And it's great people are entering it as a second career, but...
    People from other lines of work I believe will be less inclined to put up with what nurses that know nothing else are accustomed to. I wonder how long they'll stay in nursing, considering they have other careers to fall back on?
    I don't think the big question is how to get people into nursing, I think it's how do we get them to stay in nursing? And that's going to take massive changes that hospitals aren't going to want to pay for.
    As one who will contribute to the statistics in 2 years, I want to say you make an interesting point. On the other hand, have you considered the fact that those of us who are young second career people may possibly be what the nursing profession needs?

    I do not plan to work bedside for very long because conditions are poor and nurses are not able to be nurses. Plus, I know I will not have enough power to make any changes as a bedside nurse.

    Thus, in order to make changes I will spend most of my career as an Administrator. If I spend any time bedside, it will more then likely be in the military where Registered Nurses are respected and able to provide excellent care (at least that is what I hear).
    Last edit by MBARNBSN on Jan 10, '07
  5. by   Lizzy6
    Quote from wooh
    And it's great people are entering it as a second career, but...
    People from other lines of work I believe will be less inclined to put up with what nurses that know nothing else are accustomed to. I wonder how long they'll stay in nursing, considering they have other careers to fall back on?
    I don't think the big question is how to get people into nursing, I think it's how do we get them to stay in nursing? And that's going to take massive changes that hospitals aren't going to want to pay for.
    So true. Also, the older nurses in their 40's & above, allot of us are getting off the floor & into other avenues of nursing that do not require brute strength, which has already taken a toll on our bodies. I am in my 40's and now do case management. I have always kept my self in fairly good shape, worked out and maintained my weight, healthy eating....but I have tendonitis in both elbows from lifting. I have numerous friends who no longer work in nursing. One opened an antique shop in town, another got into real estate a few years ago, one is doing court reporting and another is doing book-keeping. So, with new younger nurses entering the field & some of them will bail, which I don't blame them the way the current working conditions are. Then, there are the older nurses who can no longer tolerate the working conditions whether it be due to their health or they are simply burned out and tired of it, and of course some will be retiring. I think this will create even more more of a shortage, and people are living longer...so where are we going to get enough bedside nurses??

    MBA2BRN posted that..."I do not plan to work bedside for very long because conditions are poor and nurses are not able to be nurses. Plus, I know I will not have enough power to make any changes as a bedside nurse. Thus, in order to make changes I will spend most of my career as an Administrator."
  6. by   OC_An Khe
    Or maybe the second career nurses will be the change agents that our profession needs. It's easier to force changes in the employment conditions when a significant amount of the work force has differing expiriences and working backgrounds and demand these changes.
  7. by   mvanz9999
    It is possible that career changers will be the force of change, but I am very doubtful. As a career changer, I would hope that is true....but the other side of it is the fact that the nurse force could have forced change, on its own, without any need for "outside" help. While nurses may not have "work" experience outside of nursing, they certainly know people that work in other fields and recognize they are being shorted in both pay and working conditions.

    In light of the massive, hurricane level nursing shortage, one would think the policy makers and hospital administrators would have already considered retention as a method of reducing the shortage. In fact, I know a nurse that is participating in a hospital based study that is considering the "retention of nurses" problem. A) this doesn't need to be studied, it's obvious and B) all of these studies have been done 10-fold. They are useless if the results are not actually used and new methods put into place.
  8. by   Blueskies
    "People from other lines of work I believe will be less inclined to put up with what nurses that know nothing else are accustomed to. I wonder how long they'll stay in nursing, considering they have other careers to fall back on?"

    Maybe we will be the instruments of change that make this wonderful work even better!
  9. by   Mijourney
    In many respects, the career changers will have an impact on the nursing shortage. However, I believe what will really drive it are the consumers. Boomers and generations thereafter, unlike their parents, do not believe on settling for less.

    Bedside nursing is very grueling and becoming more so with a growing number of bariatric patients. I don't see career changers over 35 staying situated at the bedside for any length of time. The younger ones also don't have patience and stamina with the bedside. So, where will that lead?

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